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Events


‘Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania’ with Shannon Woodcock
Tuesday 24th May, 7pm
Read more...

‘How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps’with Dr Youssef El-Gingihy
Wednesday 25th May, 7pm
Read more...

SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS
‘Breathe: Stories from Cuba’
with Leila Segal 
Saturday 28th May, 4pm 
Read more...

‘That Precious Strand of Jewishness that Challenges Authority’ with Leon Rosselson
Wednesday 1st June, 7pm
Read more...

SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS
Ciaran Walsh reading ‘Red Dagger’
Saturday 4th June, 4pm 
Read more...

‘Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence’ with Thandisizwe Chimurenga 
***SADLY CANCELLED DUE TO AUTHOR ILLNESS***
Read more...

‘Refugees on Lesbos: one volunteer's story' with Bev Jackson 
Wednesday 15th June, 7pm
Read more...

‘Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics’ with Richard Seymour  
Saturday 18th June, 6.30pm
Read more...

‘Cut Out: Living without Welfare’ and ‘Island Story’ with Jeremy Seabrook and J.D. Taylor
Wednesday 22nd June, 7pm
Read more...

SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS
‘Looking for Trouble’ by Roque Dalton, and presented by John Green and Michal Boncza
Saturday 25th June, 4pm
Read more...

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IN-STORE EVENTS at HOUSMANS

We regularly have a variety of events in the shop, and are always welcome for suggestions from authors, artists and campaigners who want to use the shop for evening events. Past events include talks, book signings, film screenings, art exhibitions and musical performances.

Click here for an archive; which includes a number of selected filmed highlights, of our previous events. Also, you can view video from some special events here.

Click the following button if you would like to directly add our events to your smartphone or desktop calendar using Google Calendar.

BOOK EVENT

‘Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania’

with Shannon Woodcock

Tuesday 24th May, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


Dr Woodcock will discuss ethnic and racial persecution within the uniquely isolated and oppressive Albanian Communist state between 1944 and 1991.

Life is War is a collection of oral histories that guides readers through the decades (1944-1992) in which everything was controlled by the Communist Party; what work one could do, what food was available, and even who one could marry.

The reader accompanies Shannon, the author and historian, through intimate interviews with six Albanian men and women. We hear how everyday people survived shocking living conditions, political persecution and oppression dependent on ethnicity, political status, gender and sexuality.

This is a thorough and vivid history of lived communism in Albania, charting political and ideological shifts through the experiences of those who survived. Life is War stands as remarkable and profound testimony to the resilience of humanity in the face of unrelenting political terror.

An accurate and precise historical work, engagingly rendered from life narratives, it plunges the reader into the difficult emotional truths that are at the core of remembering Albania’s communist past.

Life is War is a valuable contribution to studies of everyday life under Communism and dictatorship. Eloquently written and expertly researched, it will appeal to readers interested in life histories, war, Communism, European history and trauma studies.

About the author

Dr Shannon Woodcock  is a genocide scholar who has held the Pearl Resnick Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and published widely in the field of the Holocaust of Romani people in Romania. She is currently a research associate in the Faculty of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, where her current project examines colonial genocide in Australia.

BOOK EVENT
‘How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps’

with Dr Youssef El-Gingihy

Wednesday 25th May, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


Tower Hamlets GP Youssef El-Gingihy  discusses the NHS and explains how it has been gradually been converted into a market-based healthcare system over the past 30 years.

The NHS is the closest thing we have to a collective heart, so naturally when we hear of it being ‘privatised’ and ‘dismantled’ this evokes a negative response. It instinctively makes sense - we have a Tory government after all and they seem to quite like privatising stuff.

However, it’s a bit confusing because we still appear to get free healthcare at the point of service. Who cares if it’s being taken over by ‘health trusts’? You can still get your hip replaced or a cancer removed … What’s all the fuss about?

Youssef El-Gingihy’s accessible short book shows us why this attack on our most cherished public service is so important - a process that has been underway since the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher. Youssef provides a wealth of quite incredible information in 71 pages, so if you ever find yourself faced with a Tory offensive, you will be ready for the fight.

And it’s not just a Tory problem; El Gingihy shows that every government over the past thirty years has contributed to the demise of the pride of the UK. And here’s how they are doing it.

El-Gingihy then sets out a number of ways in which we can fight back, and if you aren’t willing to take to the streets after reading this, then you must be part of the ruling class. With TTIP potentially on the horizon (giving companies the ability to sue governments if their decisions affect their profits), the fight only becomes more difficult as every day passes.

However, with Jeremy Hunt’s recent attack on Junior Doctors, it is becoming ever more clear to the general public that with the Tories left in charge of the NHS (or any other public service for that matter), it will become more and more of a ludicrous business opportunity for their mates, and less of a public service. Although, recent history tells us that the right of the Labour Party is complicit in all this.

Nye Bevan, the creator of the service once said, ‘The NHS will exist as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.’ El-Gingihy’s book provides us with plenty of ammunition for that fight.

About the author

Dr Youssef El-Gingihy is a general practioner at Bromley by Bow Health Centre, east London. He is author of How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps, published by Zero books.

 

SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS
BOOK EVENT
‘Breathe: Stories from Cuba’

with Leila Segal
Saturday 28th May, 4pm
Free Entry
*Please note this event is being held downstairs in our Vaults, and is only accessible via a staircase.
fe_breathe_cover.jpg

Housmans are proud to welcome Leila Segal to present her short story collection, Breathe (Flipped Eye Publishing). A beautifully observed collection of short stories, Breathe takes the reader beyond the artificial glamour of guidebook Cuba to paint a real and uncompromising portrait of modern-­day Cuba. With sparse and revealing prose, Breathe portrays a series of encounters between Cubans and tourists, deftly exposing cross-­cultural tensions and inequalities. Written from the perspective of an outsider, Breathe is remarkable for its insight into everyday life in Cuba, and draws on the time Leila spent living in a rural community in the West of the island. Leila will read extracts from the stories, and talk about life in Cuba, taking questions afterwards from the audience.

Reviews
“A collection of nine luminous tales ... Segal shows us Cuba at street level. Although Segal is interested in politics, she always shows us the realpolitik of intimate human relationships, too ... rich and evocative.' LA Jewish Journal


“These are stories of encounters, chance meetings and epiphanies in streets that are at once exotic and familiar … shining a spotlight on our perceptions as non-Cubans of the so-called exotic other.” Ian McMillan, The Verb, BBC Radio 3


“Each story is like a tiny painting, giving a glimpse into the often hidden and misunderstood lives led by the Cubans.” Random Things Through My Letterbox


“[Segal] expresses the complex and conflicting emotions which bind together and splinter apart foreigners and Cubans ... [she] writes about Cuba with a unique style and voice.” Brixton Bugle


Breathe encapsulates the dynamics of some of my own experiences of living in Cuba and in frequent interaction with foreigners. [Segal’s] poetic writing eloquently portrays – and stripped of stereotypes – the complexities of the curiosity, power struggles, fears, presumptions, eroticism and cultural clash inherent in such interactions.” Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas, multi-award-winning Cuban guitarist


“A look at Cuba through foreign eyes. Relying more on subtleties than on drama, [Segal] portrays the tensions and struggles, but also the joy and warmth, that fill Cubans' lives.” Aida Bahr, author of Ofelias, and winner of Cuba's Premio de la Critica Literaria

About the Author 

Leila Segal was born in London, of Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian descent. She trained as a barrister before working in journalism for several years. In 2000 Leila visited Cuba; as soon as she arrived she knew that she wanted to stay. She lived first in Havana, then in the rural far West with her partner and his family. Breathe is her debut collection, for which she received funding from the Arts Council England.

Leila founded and directs Voice of Freedom, an organisation that works with trafficked women. Voice of Freedom enables women who have escaped their captors, and sometimes given evidence against them, to use text and photography to talk about their lives. She reads her work regularly in London: www.leilasegal.com

This event is part of a new series of fiction and poetry readings at Housmans called SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS.

BOOK AND MUSIC EVENT
‘That Precious Strand of Jewishness that Challenges Authority’ with Leon Rosselson:

Wednesday 1st June, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


 

Housmans are proud to welcome singer-songwriter and children’s author Leon Rosselson who will be reading from his pamphlet That Precious Strand of Jewishness that Challenges Authority.

This essay was originally presented as the 2015 annual Yerushah Lecture in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge. The lecture was established with a benefaction from the Righteous Persons Foundation, created by Steven Spielberg from the proceeds of his 1993 film Schindler’s List.  ‘Yerushah’ is the Hebrew word for ‘heritage’.

The Yerushah Lecture is devoted to Jewish heritage in all its aspects, with an emphasis on the transmission of Jewish identity and values across the generations. Rosselson will incorporate songs into his reading at Housmans, questioning what it means to be Jewish.

Rosselson says "For my parents and grandparents, Jewish identity, in religion, culture and language, was a given. Not so for me. I'm not religious, not a Zionist, so in what consists my Jewishness? Is a love of chopped liver and a belief that chicken soup cures all ills enough? And does it matter? This is the story of my search for answers. It is an argument with myself, with song lyrics to embellish the argument." 

Leon will also reflect on the recent rows over perceived anti-ametisim in the Labour Party.

About the Author

Leon Rosselon is an acclaimed singer and songwriter with more than 50 years of performing under his belt and the author of 17 children's books. 

http://www.leonrosselson.co.uk

 

SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS

Ciaran Walsh performs ‘Red Dagger’
Saturday 4th June, 4pm
Free Entry, downstairs in the Vaults

*Please note this event is being held downstairs in our Vaults, and is only accessible via a staircase.

 

Housmans are proud to welcome storyteller and radical historian Ciaran Walsh who will be performing the poem The Red Dagger by and on behalf of the English poet and dramatist Heathcote Williams. The Red Dagger tells the story of the City of London’s symbolic coat of arms, an image of the blood red soaked dagger that killed Wat Tyler. Walter "Wat" Tyler was a leader of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt. The dagger survives and is on display at Fishmongers’ Hall.  The piece is a blistering attack on the establishment, with utmost relevance to the continued scandals going on today in the City of London.

 

Walsh’s is a rip-roaring rendition in a ranting style - not for the faint-hearted!

This event is part of a new series of fiction and poetry readings at Housmans called SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS.

BOOK EVENT
‘Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence’ with Thandisizwe Chimurenga
***SADLY CANCELLED DUE TO AUTHOR ILLNESS***


Housmans are delighted to welcome feminist activist and journalist Thandisizwe Chimurenga to discuss the case of Trayvon Martin and how his death is just one of many examples of violence against people of colour in the US.

Chimurenga is a contributor to a new CounterPunch Books anthology, Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence, examining American brutality against people of colour through the lens of the 2012 shooting of the unarmed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was ultimately acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

The book explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown. The editors therefore titled this book Killing Trayvons because although Martin's profiling and death received extraordinary attention, they were crushingly ordinary, not only for black and brown youth in the suburbs and city streets of America but in the browner nations of the world, where the US, its clients and proxies stand their ground, claim self-defence, take preventive or pre-emptive action -- the verbal sleights-of-hand are many -- to deadly effect.

With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Jesmyn Ward, Jordan Flaherty, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.   

Reviews

“The essays form a searing indictment of a status quo that has accepted brutalization of communities of color and the premature termination of black lives since the era of widespread lynchings […] Killing Trayvons is packed with useful perspectives and powerful writing. It should be widely read for use in struggles for justice in the U.S.’ -Ben Terrall, journalist The Berkeley Daily Planet

About the Author

Thandisizwe Chimurenga is an award-winning, freelance journalist based in Los Angeles.  She came to journalism through activism, understanding how powerful media can be for destroying or building grassroots, revolutionary change. She has been a writer and creator or co-creator of media (newspapers, Cable TV, radio) for over 20 years and her community activism has ranged from electoral organizing; anti-police terror work; freedom for political prisoners and prisoners of war; to organizing against violence against women. 

BOOK EVENT
‘Refugees on Lesbos: one volunteer's story"
with Bev Jackson
Wednesday 15th June, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


Activist Bev Jackson will be at Housmans to present her book A Month with Starfish, which recounts her experiences volunteering in with the Starfish Foundation, a group that helps refugees arriving from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. A Month with Starfish is a largely light hearted account of Bev’s trip to a kaleidoscopic world that provided her with a crash course in human possibilities and her own limitations.

“…a wonderful book. I read it in one go and was profoundly moved and educated too. It is a fresh, honest and compassionate insight into the life of a Lesvos volunteer” – Esther Freud

About the Author

Bev Jackson was a founding member of the UK Gay Liberation Front. She then moved to Amsterdam, where she raised two daughters, worked as a teacher and translator and now lives with her wife and two dogs.

BOOK EVENT
‘Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics’
with Richard Seymour  

Saturday 18th June, 6.30pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Housmans welcomes back writer and broadcaster Richard Seymour who will be presenting his new book Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics (Verso).

With a landslide in the first round, Jeremy Corbyn, an unassuming antiwar socialist, crushed the opposition, dealing a huge blow to the Blairite opposition. For the first time in decades, socialism is back on the agenda—and for the first time in Labour’s history, it defines the leadership.

This book tells the story of how Corbyn’s rise was made possible by the long decline of Labour and a deep crisis in British democracy. It surveys the makeshift coalition of trade unionists, young and precarious workers, and students who rallied to Corbyn.


It shows how a novel social media campaign turned the media’s “Project Fear” on its head, making a virtue of every accusation thrown at him. And finally it asks, with all the artillery that is still ranged against Corbyn, and given the crisis-ridden Labour Party that he has inherited, what it would mean for him to succeed.

Reviews

“Long after the Labour left was thought to be dead, Jeremy Corbyn's emergence has inspired millions. There is no one better positioned than Richard Seymour to take a look at his emergence and whether Corbyn can actually turn Labour into a force for radical change.”– Bhaskar Sunkara

“Richard Seymour has a brilliant mind and a compelling style. Everything he writes is worth reading.”- Gary Younge

“One of our most astute political analysts turns his attention to Corbyn, and the result is predictably essential: not just to make sense of how we got to this unlikely situation, but for his thoughts on what the left might do next” -China Miéville

“Seymour is an essential voice on the left, and this book is a necessary intervention, explaining this daunting political moment and bringing the focus back to strategy. Not so much a call to arms as a call to brains.” - Laurie Penny

About the Author

Richard Seymour is a writer, broadcaster and socialist, currently based in London. He writes regularly for the Guardian, the London Review of Book,Jacobin and many other publications.

BOOK LAUNCH
LEFT BOOK CLUB PRESENTS:
‘Cut Out: Living without Welfare’ and ‘Island Story’
with Jeremy Seabrook and J.D. Taylor
Wednesday 22nd June, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Housmans are proud to welcome Jeremy Seabrook and J.D. Taylor for a discussion on politics and life in Britain and the impact of austerity.

Britain’s welfare state, one of the greatest achievements of our post-war reconstruction, was regarded as the cornerstone of modern society. Today, that cornerstone is wilfully being dismantled by a succession of governments, with horrifying consequences. The establishment paints pictures of so-called ‘benefit scroungers’; the disabled, the sickly and the old.

In Cut Out: Living Without Welfare (Left Book Blub/Pluto Press), Jeremy Seabrook speaks to people whose support from the state – for whatever reason – is now being withdrawn, rendering their lives unsustainable. In turns disturbing, eye-opening, and ultimately humanistic, these accounts reveal the reality behind the headlines, and the true nature of British politics today.

J.D. Taylor, on the other hand, cycled all round Britain, interviewing and staying with strangers from all walks of life. Without a map and travelling with the most basic of gear, the journey revels in serendipity and schadenfreude.

Taylor’s book, Island Story (Repeater), weaves histories, experiences and ideas to tell another kind of story: one of rebellion and retail parks, migration and inertia, pessimism and disappearing ways of life, and a fiery, unrealised desire for collective belonging and power.

Reviews for Island Story

“In the spirit of Cobbett this is a beautifully written account of a journey around contemporary Britain which is both political and poetic - a rare combination.” -Anna Minton, author of Ground Control 

“If you want to know what Starkey, Fox, Bryson and Paxman miss, because they travel different roads, this book is for you.” - Danny Dorling

Review for Jeremy Seabrook

“For half a century, in one delicately textured study after another, Seabrook has established himself as perhaps Britain’s finest anatomist of class, deindustrialisation, migration and the spiritual consequences of neoliberalism.” - Sukhdev Sandhu, The Guardian
 
About the Authors

Jeremy Seabrook is a journalist and writer who has written for the New StatesmanGuardianTime, and Independent. He writes plays for stage and TV and is the author of many books, including Pauperland: Poverty and the Poor in Britain and The Song of the Shirt: The High Price of Cheap Garments, from Blackburn to Bangladesh.

J.D. Taylor is a researcher and charity worker from South London.

SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS
POETRY EVENT AND BOOK LAUNCH

‘Looking for Trouble’
by Roque Dalton, and presented by John Green and Michal Boncza
Saturday 25th June, 4pm
Free Entry, downstairs in the Vaults
*Please note this event is being held downstairs in our Vaults, and is only accessible via a staircase.

Housmans is proud to welcome John Green and Michal Boncza, editors and translators of Looking for Trouble, a collection of poetry by the cult Latin American poet Roque Dalton.

An extraordinary poet of rebellion and humour, fierce militancy and painful tenderness, his work is still read alongside other guerrilla poets like Otto René Castillo, Javier Heraud, Ernesto Cardenal and Daisy Zamora.

Although his poetry has been widely published in Cuba, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia and the US, Looking for Trouble is the first time his work has been published in the UK.

About the Poet

Roque Dalton (1935–1975) is one of the best-known and best-loved poets of twentieth-century Latin America. A founder-member of the Committed Generation of Poets and a member of the Salvadorean Communist Party, Dalton was imprisoned in 1959 and sentenced to death for organising students and peasants against the local landowners. On the day of his execution his life was saved when the military dictatorship was overthrown in a coup. Dalton escaped death a second time in 1965 when the prison was hit by an earthquake.

He spent several years in exile in Mexico, Cuba and Czechoslovakia, publishing poetry, essays, fiction and biography and winning the 1969 Casa de las Américas poetry prize. In 1975 Dalton returned to El Salvador and joined the underground Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (the Revolutionary Army of the People). Accused by the ERP of being a CIA spy, Dalton was murdered four days before his fortieth birthday.

About the Translators and Editors

John Green was a documentary film maker for twenty years, covering social and political issues throughout the world for GDR television. His books include Engels: A Revolutionary Life, Ken Sprague: People’s Artist, Red Reporter and (with Bruni de la Motte) Stasi Hell or Workers’ Paradise: Socialism in the German Democratic Republic. Many of his translations included in His Hands Were Gentle: Selected Lyrics of Victor Jara (also published by Smokestack).

Michal Boncza was born in the UK, spent his childhood in Argentina and his youth in Poland where he studied architecture. He is a journalist, graphic designer and translator, specialising in translations from the Spanish. He currently works at the Morning Star newspaper. Together they edited and translated The Arrival of the Orchestra by the Venezuelan poet Gustavo Pereira (also published by Smokestack).

This event is part of a new series of fiction and poetry readings at Housmans called SATURDAYS IN THE VAULTS.

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Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross,
London, N1 9DX
tel: 020 7837 4473
  e: shop@housmans.com
www.housmans.com